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The land of Sham

Question

Referring to the Hadith where it is mentioned that the ‘best of places to live’ and ‘take refuge’ is in Syria and Yemen.

In fact, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) made du’a,

“Allahumma barik fi Shamina” and “Allahumma barik fi Yaminina”.

How would one explain this Hadith in the present situation.

 

Answer

1. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) alluded to Sham and Yemen being the best places to take refuge only in a particular set of circumstances. The full Hadith is as follows;

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It will be such that many armies will be mustered. An army in Sham, an army in Iraq and an army in Yemen.” A companion asked, “If I live that long, which do you choose for me?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “I choose Sham for you, because it is the best of places, and the land that Allah has chosen for his special bondsmen – and if you cannot go to Sham, then go to Yemen – and drink from your brooks and streams, for Allah Ta’ala has guaranteed that He will look after the land of Sham and its inhabitants.” (Abu Dawud 2475)

 

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did in fact make du’a for barakah in Yemen and Sham. This is possibly because, at the time, the food in Madinah Munawwarah was imported therefrom. (Sahih Bukhari 7094. Refer: Mirqat 6271)

 

In a broader sense, there are a few aspects that need to be covered to properly understand how the Hadiths mentioning Yemen and Sham fit into our current geo-political climate.

 

1. Are the Yemen and Sham mentioned in the Hadiths the same Yemen and Sham of today?
Modern Yemen and Syria are only pieces of their ancient empires. Ancient Yemen covered large parts of modern Southern Saudi Arabia, while the term Sham referred to an area that now includes parts of modern Turkey, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia (Mu’jamul Buldan vol. 5 pg. 447 and vol. 3 pg. 312; Atlasul Quran pg. 114; Sharh Ibn Raslan, Hadith: 2483).

 

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)’s frequent du’a for and recommendation of these places.
Sham: The land of Sham is indeed blessed, as illustrated in the following Hadith;
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Glad tidings for Sham! Glad tidings for Sham! Glad tidings for Sham!” The companions enquired as to how the land of Sham acquired such virtue. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: “The angels of Allah Ta’ala have spread their wings over it”. (Sunan Tirmidhi 3954)

Sham plays an important role in both the history and the future of Din. It was the land of many Ambiya, a capital of the Islamic Empire and is where I’sa (‘alayhis salaam) will one day descend.

Yemen: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) spoke very highly of the people of Yemen;
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The people of Yemen have arrived, and they are very soft-hearted. Iman is Yemeni, Understanding is Yemeni, and Wisdom is Yemeni.”

This, however, does not apply to all people of Yemen for all time. (Sahih Muslim with Al Minhaj 180)

 

3. Virtue and turmoil are not mutually exclusive.
The fact that a place virtuous does not guarantee it being free from strife and fault. The fact that a place is virtuous does not mean that other places are not. Both Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah were the subject of enemy attack and political unrest.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar